Tuesday is market day - I love to see the stalls all laid up with fruit and vegetables - but the traders....
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Salvation Sound - April 2008

Posted on April 14, 2008

This article was published in April 2008. Please see Latest News for more recent information.

Salvation ArmyTuesday is market day - I love to see the stalls all laid up with fruit and vegetables - but the traders of today don't like to see you touch their wares. Years ago barrowboys used to shout, "If you don't want the goods, don't muck. 'em about." This was often addressed to a really thrifty shopper who would pick up and examine everything really carefully before deciding on making a purchase. No bruised or blemished fruit for her, nothing from the back of the stall, and it had to be weighed before being placed in the bag. She took no notice of the signs saying "Don't touch me til I'm yours."

There are times when touching is appropriate, and times when it isn't. A hand on the shoulder may seem a very little thing but it can mean so much, or to hold the hand of someone who is really ill. It is a comfort to that person to know that someone is physically present and that they are not alone in whatever it is that they are facing. They may not be able to speak but just a squeeze of the hand can say far more than words. Words are sometimes very limiting. The gentle touch speaks volumes.

However there are people who cannot bear being touched, and we must respect their feelings. Is it I wonder because for some reason we British are too reserved? Perhaps that reserve is beginning to break down, for many people now greet one another with a hug or a kiss, instead of the rather nervous handshake of years ago; so maybe we are becoming less restrained.

Mary Magdalene was one of the 'touchers'. She was the first one to see Jesus after He had risen from the dead on Easter morning - she thought He was a gardener until He called her by name. Straight away she reached out for Him, but He said, "No". Instead He told her to go and tell the disciples that she had seen the risen Lord. Now hard that must have been for Mary not to have touched Jesus, and how hard it must have been for Him to forbid her. Then there was Thomas, he couldn't believe what the disciples said to him.. That is until a week later when Jesus appeared and said, "Put your finger here, and look at my hands; stretch out your hand and touch my side." (John 20:27).

Jesus knew the great value of touch and through this power helped and cured many people. If you are someone who puts God on the margins of your life try letting Him touch you, it won't be easy, but it will be so rewarding...

"And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole." Matthew 14: 36.

When we part company with friends or acquaintances we often say "keep in touch." - I believe that there are some people who have a special awareness; who seem to be "in touch" with the whole of God's world. They have a kind of sensitivity that enables them to approach life in a different way; - I keep 'in touch' with God through prayer, that way I can seek His guidance.

Just think of all the people you will meet as you go about your business today. How will meeting you touch their lives?? Perhaps they will need a helping hand, or a listening ear, maybe you will bring laughter into their day; use that God given gift, reach out and touch a hurting world with the love of God.

Source: Focus, April 2008

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